Researchers call for standardised CO2 compensation scheme for air travel emissions in Germany
The German research institute IKEM has called for regulatory standards for so-called compensation payments that customers of airlines in Germany can make to partially offset the climate impact of their air travels, Sandra Kirchner writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Airline customers can ‘neutralise’ the carbon emissions caused by flights they take by paying intermediary companies to invest in climate-friendly activities like reforestation, renewables expansion or energy efficiency projects in developing countries, since emissions reduction there tends to be more cost-efficient. However, while private customers regularly use the option to partially compensate their emissions, public institutions largely ignore intermediary companies and instead use certificates issued under the UN Clean Development Mechanism, which could potentially contort the requirements for the public and private sectors. “The government therefore has to introduce standards for compensation mechanisms in the Climate Action Law,” says IKEM’s Simon Schäfer-Stradowsky.
Air travel as a small but rapidly growing source of carbon emissions has recently come under closer scrutiny in Germany. Climate researchers and politicians have called for limiting the number of flights people can take free of additional charges and to stop favouring aviation disproportionately to other means of transportation. Environment minister Svenja Schulze has endorsed plans by the Belgian government to reform air travel regulations at the EU level, but decisions on the matter ultimately rest with transport minister Andreas Scheuer.